Learning to Become a Glider Pilot
Over the summer of 2015 I had the opportunity to learn how to glide, to literally soar with the birds.
I am an air cadet in the Pate’s CCF RAF section. Air experience flying with them inspired me to explore opportunities for flying as more than a passenger. The CCF website advertised a gliding scholarship for which I met the ideal target age and experience (ie, very little).
Having applied for a scholarship with the Honourable Company of Air Pilots, I was selected for interview at their headquarters in central London; this was a daunting prospect, but on the bright side, I did get a day off school. A panel of three; a civil aviation pilot, a former scholarship winner and a representative of the Company, interviewed me. A few weeks later I learnt the exciting news that I had been awarded a scholarship.
The Company provided a bursary for me to fly at the local Bristol and Gloucestershire Gliding Club. This club is located at Nympsfield, positioned on the high set of Cotswold ridges running parallel to the River Severn, allowing the use of a lift technique called ridge soaring, as well as thermalling. My first flight was in the ASK21 from a winch launch. I will never forget it. Although I had heard about winches and their high-speed acceleration, nothing prepared me for the experience. The weight increases on you as the glider rapidly moves from 0 to 65 knots, forcing you back into the seat. At the top of the winch launch there is the sharp sensation of weightlessness as you arc over nose down when the cable releases (these sensations make every flight a rollercoaster experience). Once in the air I was met with an amazing view of the River Severn and the Cotswolds stretching out around me. My instructor covered the basic controls of the aircraft, which though largely familiar, introduced me to a glider significant factor called adverse yaw, differentiating the glider from other aircraft by the need for far greater use of rudder in turns.
The training I received encompassed a vast number of drills and skills, designed so that you can adapt quickly to any circumstance that may occur when gliding solo. Stalls, spinning and spiral dives were some of the manoeuvres I had to learn how to perform and, most importantly, how to recover from and return to stable flight. I also had to learn to safely launch from a winch, complete a circuit and land; sometimes with a bit of ridge soaring or thermalling in between. This involved learning about airmanship; the rules of the air, and how to operate safely around other aircraft.
As part of my training I also had to learn how to assist in the running of the airfield. This involved understanding the characteristics of each glider and how to carry out daily inspections of the aircraft. I learnt how to be safe on the airfield by constantly watching the skies for incoming aircraft. When I was not flying I was assisting in launching, either as ‘wingman’, or operating a set of lights that tell the winch controller when to carry out each stage of the launch. I also had to retrieve the aircraft by towing them back to the launch point using a small powered vehicle (requiring me to learn how to drive too!). Occasionally, I helped with the repairs to gliders in the workshop; this gave me a greater knowledge of their inner workings.
Since the end of the scholarship I have continued training to go solo. I flew 2 flights in the ASK21 two-seater, before converting to a single seater. My training really kicked in when I had a cable failure on my first flight in the single seater. After landing straight ahead I successfully went up again, thermalling nearby before an uneventful approach and safe landing back at the airfield.
I have enjoyed gliding at Nympsfield and will continue training with my next aim being a bronze endorsement before working towards further advanced qualifications. I would thoroughly recommend and encourage others to explore the amazing flying opportunities out there!
Douglas Wescott (Y12)
Congratulations and well done to archer Lexie Evans (10R) – her Junior Master Bowman score helped ensure a solid win for the Gloucestershire team at a recent inter-county competition held between Gloucestershire, Dorset & Wiltshire, Somerset and Devon.
The photos taken professionally by Academy Portraits of all our winter and summer sports teams last year are still available to view and purchase via www.pics4schools.com using the following security codes
The photos look great so please take a look.
Winter sports 11408-69160
Summer sports 11578-99208
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Many congratulations to Alex Chantler-Mayne in Year 13 who was part of the GB Youth Relay Triathlon team that won European gold this summer.
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It has been a fantastic summer for Pate's rowers, past and present. After retaining the title she won with her crew at Henley last year, Flo Pickles (Y13) was selected to represent Great Britain in the u23 world championships, despite being just 18 years old! Flo and her crew finished a highly respectable 4th in the world in the Lightweight Women’s Quadruple Sculls. Flo leaves Pate's with our best wishes for the future as she moves on to Oxford to study medicine.
After her fantastic involvement with the Cambridge University Boat Race team, Pate's ex student Holly Hill was in the same Great Britain squad for the world u23 championship (Women's Fours Boat) and managed a fantastic bronze medal finish.
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Wednesday 17th June saw the finale of our team athletics season. 32 boys from Year 7 and Year 8 made their way to the Prince of Wales Stadium for the Cheltenham Schools Boys' Minors Competition. It was a fantastic night of track and field, with Pate's fighting off competition from all the other Cheltenham schools to win the minors shield for the 16th consecutive year. Even more impressive and unusual was the fact that both Year 7 and Year 8 won their respective competitions.
Pate's scored an impressive 114 points pushing Cotswold (83) into second and Bournside and Chipping Campden (64) into third.
This, combined with the success of last week, means Pate's boys are district champions in Year 7, 8 and 9 age groups. A feat we have not achieved in a number of years. Well done to all involved on a brilliant season of athletics.
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County Athletics Championships
On Sunday 7thJune, 12 Pate’s athletes represented Cheltenham District at the annual Athletics County Championships.They all represented Pate’s brilliantly, with some fantastic individual results.
The following are now County Champion in the age group and event listed:
Oli Parmar (Junior Boys’ 300m)
Piper Holmes (Junior Girls’ High Jump)
Georgia Wray (Inter Girls’ Pole Vault)
Jacob Pickering (Senior Boys’ 800m)
Ben Clarke (Senior Boys’ 200m)
Perhaps the stand out performances were from athletes who were crowned County Champion in two events!
Rory Cawkwell (Inter Boys’ 110m hurdles and 400m)
Mel Bird (Inter Girls’ Shot and discus)
These athletes will now represent Gloucestershire in Exeter at the Regional Championships, hoping to run, jump and throw their way into the 25 athlete Gloucestershire team for Nationals.
South West Track and Field Cup
On Monday 8th June, after successfully going through from the Gloucestershire round, 4 Pate’s teams competed in one of the 3 English Schools South West Track and Field Cup competitions in Exeter. Pate’s were the only team to have all 4 teams qualify for the regional rounds.
Many athletes achieved personal bests and were challenged by the high level of competition when competing against top schools from all over the South West of England.
Finals team results competing against 8 teams were;
Junior girls - 1st
Junior boys - 3rd by 4 points
Inter girls - 5th with incomplete team due to injury
Inter boys – 2nd by 11 points
Year 9 Championships
On Wednesday 10th June boys and girls competed against 14 other schools from the Cheltenham District at the Prince of Wales Stadium.
Our athletes rose to the challenge with some excellent individual performances. Pate’s continued the tradition of challenging for the top places by picking up points in many events.
Final positions were;
Boys – 1st by 6 points, pushing Dean Close into second place.
Girls – 5th who were again troubled by injury
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Come to my house if there are other options for me it seems foolish propecia online and it is here that you can hear a lot of interesting facts about which you have under no circumstances heard of.